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Westward I Go Free
Westward I Go Free

Westward I Go Free

Tracing Thoreau's Last Journey


456 Pages, 5 x 7.25

Trade Paper, $28.95 (US $28.95) (CA $28.95)

Publication Date: June 2012

ISBN 9781927043301

Rights: WOR X UK & EUR

Libri Publishing (Jun 2012)
Green Frigate Books

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While Henry David Thoreau’s travels to the Maine Woods and Cape Cod were well documented and have been followed by “Thoreauvians” for decades, his 1861 “journey west” with Horace Mann, Jr.—which took the duo from Massachusetts to Minnesota and back—was left to be veiled in mystery. This book details this, the last, longest, and least-known of Thoreau’s excursions. The story of two 19th-century men and the 21st-century woman who was determined to follow their 4,000-mile path, this account will intrigue history buffs as they follow in the footsteps of a popular American writer and naturalist.


"Meticulously researched, brimming with energy and wit, it admirably fills an omission that previous biographies have been content to skip over."  —Jerry Dennis, author, The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas

"In her superbly written and researched book, she takes us to the places where Thoreau went and describes them, then and now. In addition, she enriches each segment of their trip with her own 'Thoreauvian adventure,' which reveals fascinating connections with Thoreau and others, from Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin to lilacs on Michigan’s Mackinac Island."  —J. Parker Huber, author, The Wildest Country: Exploring Thoreau's Maine

"Corinne H. Smith has woven a complex tapestry of history, biography, and acute observation that would delight the sage of Walden Pond."  —David K. Leff, author, Deep Travel: In Thoreau's Wake on the Concord and Merrimack

"Smith succeeds, via enthusiasm and meticulous research, in bringing to life an underreported aspect of Thoreau's life, one that may inspire future studies." —Midwest Book Review (February 2013)

"Smith here presents a beautifully detailed account of their trip. . . . The story of Thoreau's last journey is a fascinating one that is still very much worth the read. Highly recommended for all Thoreau buffs, Thoreau collections, and travel memoir enthusiasts." —Library Journal Xpress Reviews (February 2013)

Author Biography

Corinne Hosfeld Smith is a librarian with more than 30 years of experience who serves on the staff of the Mondor-Eagen Library at Anna Maria College. She lives in Athol, Massachusetts. Laura Dassow Walls is the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Emerson's Life in Science, The Passage to Cosmos, and Seeing New Worlds and the coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism.